Hot chicken broth or chicken soup will help you get back on your feet quickly if you have a cold or flu. It is also good when you are exhausted or when the weather outside makes you shiver. Supposedly, chicken broth has an anti-inflammatory effect and can therefore help heal respiratory infections in particular. The hot steam from the soup and all the liquid will also do you a world of good. When we recently got a covid infection after all, the first thing we did was cooking chicken soup. Here we show you how to do it:
You will need a good, fresh organic chicken and some vegetables. We recommend carrots, celery root, onions, leeks, ginger, garlic and a bunch of parsley, but you can use whatever root vegetables you like. If you want to make soup, use the best chicken you can get. What is sold as soup chicken is often really only to be used for a broth – it would be a shame to end up throwing the meat away. We want to use as much as possible and, of course, eat the meat in the soup. So invest in your most important ingredient.
Now prepare the chicken. To do this, wash it inside and out and then dry it with a paper towel. Be careful not to place it in the kitchen in its raw state anywhere where other ingredients are to be cut. On raw chicken meat can be salmonella, which we do not want to multiply in the kitchen. Therefore, we just put the chicken on a large soup plate after washing it. Now we remove the rump with a sharp knife. The rump is a fat gland on the tail of the chicken. It can give the soup a musty taste that we do not fancy particularly.
Now cut one or two onions into coarse pieces. The onion skin gives the soup a wonderful golden color and should definitely be used. You can now dry roast the onions a bit in the pot, this will also deepen the flavor of the soup through the roasted aromas. Take the biggest pot you have in the kitchen, ideally it should hold about 4-5 liters. The ingredients take up a lot of space and you want to make a good amount of soup, the recipe here makes about 2.5 liters. What you do not eat right away, you can freeze in portions and use anytime for all kinds of other dishes as a perfect base – e.g. for risotto, for stews or for sauces.
You can peel the ginger or simply slice it. We recommend putting it in a container with the spices, which you can take out of the soup at any time if you notice that the seasoning is getting too intense. The soup will cook on the stove for a long time, so it will be difficult to get the level of seasoning right beforehand. You can use a spice ball for this, but a tea bag works well, too.
For seasoning, we recommend a bay leaf, a few peppercorns and a bunch of thyme. You can also make a more Asian tasting soup with some star anise, white pepper, a cinnamon stick and a few cardamom cloves. The only important thing is not to use salt at this point. The flavor of the ingredients will only be fully transfered into the soup if salt in the liquid does not prevent this (osmosis). For all broths, therefore, salt should be added only at the very end.
You just need to roughly clean the vegetables and cut them into larger pieces.
Now put the cut vegetables and the chicken into the pot and fill up with water. You don’t need extra fat, the chicken is fat enough. Add the spices so that you can take them out at any time. A few dried shiitake mushrooms give extra umami, that is the savoury flavor which makes us warm and happy.
The soup now cooks over medium heat for about two to three hours. Make sure it is just simmering gently and not bubbling too much. After about an hour, you can start tasting if the ginger flavor becomes too dominant. If it does, simply remove the spices.
The broth is now golden and delicious. Taste how much flavor it already has from the ingredients alone, without using a gram of salt. First, carefully take out the chicken. It will probably fall apart into a few pieces, but don’t worry, this is not a problem. Set the chicken pieces aside on a plate to cool.
Now pour the broth through a strainer. The best way to do this is to use a pointed strainer, which will allow you to squeeze out the last bit of flavor with a ladle. You can also use a simple pasta strainer. Most of the vegetables are now overcooked and have released all their flavor into the soup.
Sometimes a few pieces are still usable for your soup – for example, carrot pieces that have not become too mushy. The rest of the vegetables can be thrown away. They have given all they got.
When the chicken has cooled down a bit, you can separate the best pieces with white, fine meat from the bones. Here you can see where you need to cut to remove the particularly tasty breast fillet. Alternatively, you can use your fingers. You can then finely slice or shred the meat to use as a soup garnish.
For serving, you heat the meat, some vegetables and another soup garnish in the portion of broth you are about to eat. Only now you should season the soup with salt to taste. You can also use soy sauce instead, if you opt for an Asian flavor.
Small noodles taste especially good as an ingredient. We use vermicelli or other soup noodles that cook through quickly.
The part of the soup that you want to save for later, you put in a container and cool or freeze it. It is also practical to fill broth into an ice cube container. The cubes make portioning easy and can be used for sauces. You see: the effort and time were worth it. You cannot buy in such a brilliant broth, you have to cook it yourself.
Enjoy. Stay or become well!
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients (for about 2.5 liters of chicken broth):
1 organic chicken
2 large brown onions
1 celery stalk
1 celery root or parsnip
1 bunch of parsley
3 cloves of garlic
1 ginger root
1 bay leaf
2-3 dried shiitake mushrooms
A few peppercorns
bunch of thyme
Salt or soy sauce to taste
A handful of vermicelli or other soup noodles as a garnish